The Featured Artists’ Coalition is an organization founded in 2009 by a number of big-league music artists advocating a new model of music distribution and for the rights of musical artists. It aims to halt the abuse they’ve encountered in the music industry and to bridge a gap between the artists and the fans. It promotes a higher level of control and jurisdiction regarding policies and deals. The members of the FAC feel as if the artists should have more control over their own work. They maintain that this is a new, changing industry and that the way things operate needs revamping.
They have six key demands:
1. An agreement by the music industry that artists should receive fair compensation whenever their business partners receive an economic return from the exploitation of the artists’ work.
2. All transfers of copyright should be by license rather than by assignment.
3. The ‘making available’ right should be monetized on behalf of featured artists and all other performers.
4. Copyright owners to be obliged to follow a ‘use it or lose it’ approach to the copyrights they control.
5. The rights for performers should be improved to bring them more into line with those granted to authors (songwriters, lyricists and composers).
6. A change to copyright law which will end the commercial exploitation of unlicensed music purporting to be used in conjunction with ‘critical reviews’ and abusing the UK provisions for ‘fair dealing’.
The FAC has criticized government legislation regarding piracy and condemns many record company approaches to combatting piracy. Jeremy Silver explains
that piracy is not going to disappear, proposed government legislation is misguided, and that innovation is dire:
We have to look at a world in which the reproduction right and the control of it are progressively eroded . . . unfortunately I believe the cost of that legislation to civil liberties and freedom of speech will be much greater than the likely cultural and economic benefit it strives to achieve. For those of us toiling in the cultural digital fields however, this kind of legislation also has another negative effect. It continues to provide incumbent businesses with a remedial focus on prevention of piracy rather than on investment in new solutions to the economic problem it causes . . . the investment in new ways to invest in content is not coming from the music industry. It’s coming from new entrants who are faced with the prospect of rights holders who make it difficult and expensive to try new things out. Rights holding companies typically demand advances and even equity in companies that dare to enter their sector with a new idea for creating economic growth.”
In summary, the FAC stands for innovation in the industry, more artist autonomy and growth, and less grip by record companies. They make it very clear, however, that they are definitely not pro-illegal-downloading
Those opposed to the FAC remind us that this group does not speak for the entire industry, and that “it’s easy to be charitable when you’re already rich and established”. The FAC responds by reminding them of the support they give those who are not rich or established.
The bands involved with the FAC include individuals and members of: Radiohead, Billy Bragg, Travis, Blur, David Gray, Tom Jones, Annie Lennox, Marillion, The Futureheads, Pink Floyd, Kate Nash, Robbie Williams, Sia, KT Turnstall… and many more.